Preview 2019: Previewing and looking ahead to the North Carolina Tar Heels season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– North Carolina Previews 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
2018 Record: 2-9 overall, 1-7
Head Coach: Mack Brown, 1st year
5. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NORTH CAROLINA OFFENSE
– The offense wasn’t bad. It averaged 442 yards per game, but scoring was an issue – which is sort of the point – there weren’t enough big plays down the field, and the passing game wasn’t efficient. But the ground game was okay, and there was time to work behind a decent line.
Now it’s up to offensive coordinator Phil Longo to crank things up even more after spending the last few seasons making the Ole Miss offense amazing. But that only happens if …
– The new guy has to be amazing, and that’s not about head coach Mack Brown. Sam Howell was a fantastic recruiting get for the program – stolen away from Florida State – and now he has to be the face of the franchise as the new starting quarterback from Day One … maybe.
Cade Fortin showed flashes in his little bit of work in his first season, and fellow redshirt freshman Jace Ruder might just be sharp enough to get the starting call early on. Everyone is getting a shot in one of the ACC’s most interesting quarterback battles.
– The running backs should be the early strength. Jordon Brown transferred to Kansas State after finishing third on the team in rushing, but that’s partly because speedy Michael Carter and the 210-pound Antonio Williams will be the main men. The two combined or just over 1,100 yards with seven scores, and they have the potential to be the centerpiece of the attack. But …
– The Longo offense makes stars out of the receivers. Leading yardage guy Anthony Ratliff-Williams took off early for the NFL, but Dazz Newsome is back after leading the team with 44 catches, and sophomore Dyami Brown and junior Beau Corrales are big targets who can get down the field.
Throw in junior Rontavius Groves and his 18-yard average from last year, and dangerous TE Carl Tucker, and Howell and the rest of the quarterbacks have weapons to work with.
– Can the line be good in pass protection again and push for close to 200 rushing yards per game again? The tackles aren’t stars yet, but senior Charlie Heck and sophomore Jordan Tucker should be in the hunt for All-ACC honors. There’s decent size, experience, and versatility for the interior, but it’ll take fall camp to put together the right starting threesome.